Thursday, January 24, 2008

Frugal Principles: Use Less

It's time for another Frugal Friday!

Ages ago, I wrote part one on my series of frugal principles. The idea was to demonstrate how you can use the four basic principles (Use it up, use less, make do, or do without) through all the areas of your life. Since I already covered using it up, I'll move on to using less.

Using less detergent

I don't understand the measuring cups that come with laundry detergent. Does anyone really need that much liquid laundry detergent to get their clothes clean? I cut back to about half that and sometimes use even less for smaller or cleaner loads of laundry. I haven't noticed any difference. Essentially, you can continue to cut back until you start to notice a difference, then increase the amount just enough to make your clothes clean again.

Ditto for laundry detergent.

Using less coffee

Some people may think this is gross, but one way I save money on coffee is that when I make the second pot of the day (at home or work), I reuse the grounds and add half as much again. In this way, the second pot uses only half as much coffee as the first.

I honestly think the major savings here is on the reused coffee filter, which saves both money and wasted paper.

Using less energy

Whenever possible, use lower wattage light bulbs (or CFLs, better yet) or lower settings on appliances. Just like with detergent, decrease until you notice a difference.

Using less gas

Well, maybe a whole post on this another day, but the obvious essentials hold true: Drive less, combine trips, carpool.

Using less food

One unfortunate thing I've noticed is that the more food I cook, the more we eat. We don't need the extra calories any more than the extra expenditures. If you are cooking for leftovers, store the portion for leftovers BEFORE you start eating. This way you get a "free meal" and you don't overeat and feel gross and bloated later that night.

Also, try using smaller plates. Everyone can still have as many servings as they want, but they will tend to eat less because it slows them down long enough to notice when they're full.

Please post any other suggestions for using less and do prod me if I forget to move on to making do. :)


Brianna said...

I think that using less laundry detergent is a great way to say. A lot of the more environmentally friendly detergents out there now allow you to use less. I started using Tide Pure Essentials because you don't have to use as much of it and my clothes are actually cleaner!

Anonymous said...

I find that when I have a product in a large warehouse/economy size I often use more because it seems abundant. I have saved smaller containers of many items to refill from the large container:shampoo, handsoap, dish liquid, oil, condiments. It really helps me to use less and they are easier to handle.

Lindsay said...

I love the idea of setting left overs aside before you eat. This is a tip I am definitely going to do, especially since my husband takes left overs to work as lunch for the next day.
Everyone could use a little less. It is the small things that add up over time. Plus, using less often helps preserve our planet as well.